Lauren Spierer’s Disappearance – a Parent’s Worst Nightmare

by Kent Sterling

Sending a child to college is hard on the psyche of a parent.  The little nugget of fear that is planted in the soul of parents when a child is born grows a little like the Grinch’s heart at the end of the animated Christmas classic.

All parents put themselves into the place of the parents in movies like “Without a Trace”, or real like stories of kids who are missing like Natalle Holloway or during any Amber Alert.  There are innocuous moments with a child that prompt that panic too.

When my son was three, we went to Illinois Masonic Hospital to visit my wife and his mother.  As we walked by a bank of elevators, Ryan darted into one and the door closed behind him before I could get there.  I had no idea whether the elevator was going up or down, or what the right play was for me, so I kept hitting the up and down button until the elevator Ryan ran into stopped on my floor again.  Thank God he was still in there when the elevator returned.

Click here to follow Kent on Twitter @kentsterling

I never let go of his hand when we were outside, but thought we were pretty safe inside a hospital.  Not so much.

Lauren Spierer is a student at Indiana University, and she was out late Friday night – really late.  She was last seen at 4:30 a.m. Saturday, and half the city of Bloomington is continuing to search for her.  The parents hold out hope for a positive resolution.  With every passing hour, the odds of finding Lauren alive diminish.  The parents know that, and every minute passes like the longest hour of their lives.

When parents send kids to college, there is a grim acceptance that there will be occasional missteps and mistakes.  The kids will likely do what most college kids do – drink like idiots, challenge rules, and put themselves at a greater risk for harm.

Knowing what I knew about my behavior in college made me wretch when I thought about my son’s pending collegiate experience.  He’s always been exceptionally responsible and mature in his decision making – that gene must skip a generation or two – but every weekend, I would hope that Ryan was doing the right thing often enough to get through school unscathed.

That’s what we focused on when he was young.  Holding Ryan responsible for his actions and levying serious consequences every single time he stepping beyond admittedly arbitrary limits were our marching orders as parents throughout Ryan’s childhood.

If Ryan was one minute late, he lost a privilege.  Late is late.  Good grades were expected, not rewarded.  Curfew was early.  Driving was allowed, but treated like a responsibility not a right.  And we said no – a lot.

I had no problem saying no, and continue to have no problem saying no despite Ryan turning 23 in two days.  He can move out, and tell me to go to hell, but while he lives here, I don’t care if he’s 38, he plays by the rules of the house.

Giving a kid freedom to make life altering mistakes was not in my game plan.

That’s not to cast any blame for what has happened to Lauren toward her parents.  Bad things happen to good people now and then.  No doubt that more bad things happen at 4:30 a.m. than at 10 p.m., but that doesn’t mean anyone should feel responsible for what has happened.  They shouldn’t.  But there are lessons here for other parents.

  • Giving freedom as a rite of passage that will help kids develop and mature is a dangerous myth.
  • Giving into the pleas of kids for a curfew beyond Midnight is weak and idiotic.
  • Giving kids the tools to make responsible decisions – including saying no and meaning it – is good parenting, not overbearing authoritarianism.

My Dad always said, “Nothing good happens after Midnight.”  I challenged that axiom hundreds of times, so from a relatively massive catalogue of experiences, I can confirm that he was correct.  I can’t think of a single time that I benefitted in any way from staying out until closing time.

All of us hope and pray that Lauren is found safe.  We pray that her parents find the strength to persevere through whatever lies in front of them.  Their reality is our nightmare, and whatever needs to be done to limit the chances for this nightmare to become ours is well worth the fleeting pain of our children’s disgust with us.

This morning, parenting for Lauren became her mom and dad offering a $100,000 reward for her safe return.

40 thoughts on “Lauren Spierer’s Disappearance – a Parent’s Worst Nightmare

  1. Neil

    This has to be the ultimate fear of all parents. I have a teenage daughter and fear grips me when I am not aware of where she is all the time. Young women are especially vulnerable. There are predators out there. As an architect and a designer, I know one aspect of human behavior that we use when designing and that is the the more eyes on a situation, the less chance of a problem. Dark or light, night or day, if few people are in the vicinity the risks go up immeasurably. This would be the reason that more random acts of rape and predation normally happen when campuses are in summer recess due to less students being around. Surroundings that would normally be safe, might not be with less people than normal watching. Having other people around is not the perfect preventative for preventing mischief but if there is anyone out there, don’t go where few people are at a time where again few people will see. It is tempting for evil people.

    Reply
  2. Old Sports Dude

    May she be found safe. Nice to see that Tom Crean and his wife are helping in the search. This shows we have a coach who cares about more than a bouncing ball. The family is in my prayers.

    Reply
  3. Someone's daughter

    I find this article very offensive. There’s a girl missing, and you have the audacity to brag about your parenting and simultaneously insult the parenting of this family? How dare you. Saying that you “don’t cast any blame” doesn’t really do much when you spend the rest of the article giving lessons from parenting mistakes. It’s like saying “no offense, but…” obviously you mean offense. I guarantee that your son has been out at 4 in the morning. As a recent graduate from one of the top schools in the country, and what I consider to be good parenting, I can tell you that sometimes things happen to kids who were raised right, and punishment for being a minute late to dinner isn’t going to prevent it.

    Reply
    1. Pauly Balst

      @Someones Daughter, that is not what he is saying at all. He lectures no one, offers common sense perspective, and shares in the profound fear her parents must have. If her parents are somehow insulted, they can reach out to him, but clearly none is intended.

      I find your response offensive.

      And puzzling, especially at this point in time with a student missing, you are more worried about reading something into a post that simply is not there. Candidly, regardless of your education you so self servingly point out (?!?), you sound like a sanctimonious, lecturing punk. Hopefully it’s just emotion.

      Best to the young woman and her family.

      Reply
    2. IK

      I do, too. Absolutely. The whole tone of “I hope she is found safe but I was really strict so my kids would never pull that crap,” is VILE. She is a tiny thing, 4’11”, she is a heart patient who is on and she was doing what a good 60 or 70% of the university students were doing — going out and partying on a weekend — when she disappeared. Her parents are frantic and heartsick, and you use this as an occasion to be holier than thou and trumpet your parenting style? I hope that you are never put in a position of terror like these people are. Not that you don’t deserve a comeuppance, but your children certainly don’t. We are all humans and make mistakes (I have done what this girl has done and have come out unscathed, fortunately) and do things we don’t think could have the worst possible consequences. Should you ever find yourself terrorized with fear over the fate of a loved one, I hope you won’t have to read some dreck like this to only make you feel worse.

      Reply
      1. Edgar

        IK, That is not what he said. “Not that you don’t deserve a comeuppance”…..classy statement.

        At any point did he suggest her parents DIDNT raise her that way? Of course not. He clearly states that kids are going to do what most do in college.

        Is 5’3” the cut off point for YOUR sympathy? Dialysis patients dont count, only heart patients? Not fun reading things into your writings, is it?

        May she be found healthy. Elizabeth Smart reminds us never give up hope.

        Reply
      2. Shelley

        I would agree with IK. How many people criticized the Smart parents for not having an alarm system in their home when Elizabeth was abducted? They were strict parents. Should they have been stricter?

        I would venture to guess that if the writer of this article were to have a loved one missing, he would find this article condescending and inappropriate. Children of strict parents go missing, too.

        Reply
        1. kentsterling Post author

          And that point was made in the post. Bad things happen sometimes regardless of the preventative measures taken. Bad stuff happens. No one is 100% safe.

          Reply
      3. Jacci

        I just stumbled onto this site but obviously this guy is not a reporter. If he was he would have found out that Jill Berman another Indiania student who went missing did so during the day while riding her bike.

        http://www2.indystar.com/library/factfiles/crime/missing/jill_behrman.html

        The danger is not the “time” of day but whether the streets are crowded or not. Obviously it is more dangerous to be alone which was the case with both Jill and Lauren.

        The other danger is in being so intoxicated that you leave your keys on the ground. However, from everything read about Lauren it appears that getting so intoxicated was not something she would do which leads me to suspect that she was slipped something in her drink. This is a danger that can happen to any woman (and sometimes men) which is hard to prevent. I am not suggesting that the boy she was with slipped her anything in fact it is possible that he drank out of her glass which also could account for his memory loss.

        The truth is that good things happen to bad people because there are BAD people out there. Any parenting issues lie with those raising the people who are doing bad things. As Lauren’s mom said there is ONE person (at least) out there that KNOWS what happened to Lauren.
        The focus should be on finding Lauren and finding that one person.

        The lesson to kids should be that they should try to never be alone when they could be vulnerable. And other kids should not let someone be alone in a situation where they are vulnerable.

        To care and help others is a more important lesson to give our kids than to be a strict authoritarian who raises kids who often only care about enjoying the freedom they never experienced before to do what they please. Even if doing what the please results in harm to others.

        As far as the lessons to parents here I have successfully raised three kids and one of which has traveled all over the world. My kids are street smart and try to not put themselves in danger however I worry about them because of the BAD people in our world who do bad things to good people. I gave them the freedom to learn responsibility while also saying and meaning no. However, I also did NOT make their curfew at midnight. I was flexible with the situation and I am NOT weak nor idiotic.

        I also know for a fact that ALL kids drink at college and those who have grown up in strict authoritarian atmospheres often are the ones drinking the most. So having a drinking age of 21 IS idiotic. If kids are sneaking drinks they tend to down them faster. Let them drink responsibly. We send them off to be killed in wars. Some of us force them to have children when they are just children themselves. And yet we cannot give them the responsibility of being allowed to drink?

        AND all bars in college towns should have to serve drinks in covered plastic cups so that BAD people cannot do bad things to good kids.

        Reply
        1. kentsterling Post author

          This is a patently idiotic comment. I’m not often moved to anger at the opinions expressed in the comments, but this one has me more than a little perturbed. To suggest that all kids drink in college is ludicrous. To assert that drinking early encourages ‘responsible drinking’ defies logic, science, and paints anyone who uses it as an excuse for their kids’ behavior as miserably weak.

          Many kids binge drink in college. That is true. When it happens, the odds for something horrible happening multiply exponentially. If it makes parents feel better to believe everyone does it, they are welcome to drink that kool-aid.

          Not only am I aware of the Jill Behrman tragedy, I know how to spell her name. The two situations have nothing in common whatsoever, other than both were missing girls. Jill’s death was horrifying. To their endless credit, Jill’s parents have turned her death into something that motivates good from others. Hopefully, this mindboggling event ends much more happily than Jill’s disappearance.

          Give your kids a hug, hold them to responsible for their actions, and bring meaningful consequences for their transgressions. To do otherwise is negligent and harmful. It doesn’t guarantee safety – nothing does – but it does provide a framework where a mature adult can flourish.

          If you want to bark about how teenagers deserve freedom, post that crap elsewhere. If there was a sniper in Hamilton County (IN) shooting kids in the same number as die in car wrecks after drinking or using drugs, hysterical parents would padlock their children in the basement.

          If some of the parents posting comments on this board would do a little growing up themselves, maybe this generational cycle of stoogelike behavior at closing time would stop.

          Reply
        2. Pauly Balst

          Jacci, so in summary, ALL kids drink in college; adults force children to have children; there should be no drinking age because kids can be responsible drinking at any age, yet they should be served alcohol in sippy cups? Since statistically they are more likely to drown than be drugged and killed, shouldn’t they wear life jackets at the bar?

          I am struck by the number of students who have seen the damage
          Alcohol, drugs, divorce, etc., have had on their family, and act accordingly, as they have had to be the parent to a parent. Jacci, there are plenty of well adjusted kids who don’t drink or do recreational drugs. there are plenty of kids who have their shit together.

          Where does the author imply anything about the parents of Lauren?

          Reply
    3. Sherlock Holmes

      “sometimes bad things happen to kids who were raised right”.

      Thanks for that brilliant insight. Surely that nugget never would have crossed anyones mind.

      Coming from someone who lost a sister at age 6.

      Reply
  4. Sending Prayers to the Parents

    This article comes from a father’s fear for his child and what he believes is the way to reduce the chance of harm to his child. He shares it now because he believes his way reduces the chance of harm and wants to warn others against lenient parenting. However, rules rigidly applied can have an opposite effect – it can push the child away and they may actively work to circumvent your rules. It sends a message that nothing is quite “good enough”. Even if the parents’ intent is to provide safety and the rules come from a place of love, I do not believe that the child interprets it that way. They just feel controlled. Without discussion it comes across as arbitrary rule making. e.g. “one minute late is late”. Controlling behavior pushes people away and has a chilling effect on discussion. Granted a 5 year old needs more structure than a 23 year old, but what worked when he was 5 may only push your son away at 23yo.

    I can identify with the terror a parent feels and how the unknown can make you believe that the very worst has happened. This is heartbreaking for these parents and I will pray that their child is brought safely home.

    Reply
    1. kentsterling Post author

      You are 100% right, and I am remiss in not explaining that every rule requires a full explanation as to why it’s important. That kids respect the rule is more important than their willingness to follow orders.

      Reply
      1. Shelley

        How do you know kids respect the rules? I remember as a kid time and time again telling my parents “yes, Mom,” and “yes, Dad.” I accepted their explanations of their rules because if I didn’t, they would get pissed at me.

        I was always ‘respectful’ of my parents rules until I left the house and talked trash about them to my friends.

        Reply
        1. kentsterling Post author

          Congratulations for your lack of empathy for your parents. Wonderful story. Some kids respect parents and others don’t. Most of the time, the kids who don’t respect their parents have either poor parents or are poor kids themselves.

          Reply
          1. Shelley

            You said it is important for kids to respect the rules. I’m pointing out that you can’t ever know if kids, even YOUR KIDS, Kent, respect your rules because if they don’t, they just tell you what they want to hear.

          2. kentsterling Post author

            Of course, you can tell whether kids respect the rules, if the rules are enacted to help them live a positive life. Look at grades, friends, choices, and overall happiness. Happy kids are generally doing the right stuff. Any parent who relies only upon what the child verbalizes misses the big picture.

    2. Agreed

      “Sending Prayers to the Parents” should write a damn book. Well said. This writer is rightfully concerned for his son which has caused him to adopt a particular parenting style. I agree with you that being too hard on a kid can really mess them up. My parents would be mad if I was late for curfew, but a minute late? I would have lost all respect for my parents if they were that uptight. At a certain point, you can’t hold your kid’s hand in the elevator and have to trust them to make the right choices.

      Reply
      1. kentsterling Post author

        Late is late. On time is on time. Teaching a kid to pay attention to what time it is gives them a chance to be punctual. By the way, it bears mention that if Ryan called before the time he told us he would be home (and his curfew was always his own) that was fine. We didn’t want him driving like hell to get home to meet a curfew – putting his health at risk. If he didn’t call, that was bad news.

        Reply
  5. Anon

    I believe everyone is hoping for Lauren to be found safely. That is irrelevent to this article. I, for one, am incredibly disheartened to see that a post like this made it so high on Google’s News Page. I came here expecting real information about what was going on, and what I could do to help. Instead I was treated to a few “We hope she’s found safely” and “This is every parents worst fear” words scattered in a deluge of baseless preaching.

    That you, Mr. Sterling, would take a tragedy like this and attempt to use it to further your own views –regardless of whether or not they are correct– disgusts me on a base level. You should be ashamed of trying to capitalize on another persons tragedy in so obvious a way.

    Reply
    1. Sherlock Holmes

      Anon, you must be busy today, the same quick google scan of blogs shows this is hardly a unique perspective. or non perspective as it were.

      Reply
    2. kentsterling Post author

      My own views being that parents should be willing to swallow the bitter pill of the frown from a kid who needs some boundaries in his or her life is certainly objectionable. I can see why you would be disgusted.

      Yes, I’ve gone out on a skinny limb here.

      I’m curious in what way I have capitalized on anything. Something terrible happened. Parents fear this kind of thing every second of everyday – maybe in the dark recesses of their souls, but it’s there. Parents need to act to try to limit the odds of it happening to their kids – and perhaps Lauren’s did.

      Reply
      1. College Student

        Kent–I think what Anon is trying to say is that by using Lauren’s family and her status as a missing person that you are implying that being a strict parent would have prevented her disappearance. And while it is a valid point to bring up safety after something like this has happened, I don’t think that using a specific example like Lauren is very kosher. You could have written your views about parenting and talked about why you raise your son the way you do without bringing Lauren into this. Whether you meant to or not, it seems as if you are using Lauren as an example of “bad parenting.”

        Reply
        1. kentsterling Post author

          Not only don’t I mean that, I wrote that exactly the opposite might be true. The media talks about gun control after assassinations. The media talks about raising the age for teens getting a drivers license after a car filled with kids are killed after hitting a tree at 95 mph. And the media talks about safe sex after someone dies of AIDS. That’s the way it works. I hope for a resolution that brings the parents peace, and continue to hope that Lauren is found okay. Reading the post as an implication that I believe her parents to be somehow responsible is a spurious inference.

          Reply
      2. Student

        Additionally, I want to raise doubts as to your views on how far is too far in terms of giving boundaries. While I don’t know you or your son, I can speak about my experiences. I have a friend who sounds like your son. he is supposed to be home by midnight every night. He is in college and has to ask his mother permission to spend the night at his on-campus apartment because she wants him to stay home with her. Even when he is at school, he has to come home whenever his parents ask. This is a good friend of mine, so I’m sorry to say that he is really resentful towards his parents. Moreover, since his freedoms are so limited, every time they say “yes,” he takes it to the extreme. If his Mom does let him stay at his apartment, he is so happy to be free for a night that he drinks way too much and often puts himself in danger.

        This obviously isn’t the case for every kid with strict parents, but I have many more friends in situations like this who have rebelled. I don’t argue that boundaries are good—-everybody needs boundaries. But asking a kid to be home by midnight??? Maybe in high school, but after that, a kid is trying to transition into an adult and needs to make his or her own choices. In order to do that, he or she needs a little slack

        Reply
        1. kentsterling Post author

          I never asked Ryan to be home by Midnight. I asked him when he planned on being home, and that was the time he was expected. I can’t recall him ever asking to be home after midnight. We talk a lot and always have. We both ask questions and both have answers. Whether he respects me, you would have to ask that of him. He turns 23 tomorrow, and for the way he has lived his life to this point, I have great respect.

          He’s a quality human being who is trusted by friends to do the right thing. I’m nowhere near a perfect parent, but I stand by who he has always been and is now as a young man.

          I had friends who went batshit as well out from under the thumbs of their parents. I also knew kids who had a wonderful relationship built on trust with their parents and avoided many of the pitfalls those who were untethered fell into.

          There is not a right and wrong way to be a great parent. There is a way to be a great parent a specific kid.

          Reply
  6. John Doe

    “She is a tiny thing, 4’11″, she is a heart patient who is on and she was doing what a good 60 or 70% of the university students were doing — going out and partying on a weekend — when she disappeared.”

    This is the problem our younger generation faces: Becoming an alcoholic, at least between the ages of 18-22, while at college, is considered acceptable. Instead of calling it what it is, alcoholics fueling their desire to get totally hammered, we now label it as “partying on a weekend.” Maybe that is what college kids did back in the 60s, but the push today is that kids need to be full blown binge drinking weekend alcoholics or they haven’t ‘lived life.’

    The amount of money that college students today spend on booze is astonishing. Maybe the same amount (factoring in inflation and what not) was spent back in the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, etc..

    This type of logic takes me back to the Jack Trudeau booze party. Some folks were claiming that this was nothing more than “young adults” having a drink (as in one serving) of alcohol to celebrate graduation, a turning point in life. If one needs alcohol, any amount, to celebrate, that to me is the textbook definition of an alcoholic. I remember a few people even compared this incident to that of someone drinking a serving of alcohol at a funeral. I’ve been to a lot of funerals, and I don’t ever recall a key or beer bongs being passed around.

    Face it, American is a country of alcoholics. Things are changing, in terms of punishments for those who do bad. The problem is, there are many alcoholics who become victims from their own drinking. It doesn’t matter if you are 4’5″ or 6’7″, consuming massive amounts of Ethanol is never a good thing.

    If folks look at a few recent incidents involving college students, a key in most of them is alcohol:
    -Miami of Ohio: Student who has been drinking gets run over by a train
    -Purdue: Student who had been drinking wanders into an electrical room, gets electrocuted.
    -Ball State: Student who is intoxicated trying to commit forced residential entry into the wrong home. This causes the home owner to call police. Police arrive and the student is shot and killed.

    I don’t have a hatred for alcohol, but we have become a country were it is socially acceptable to allow our 14-22 year old youth to become alcoholics, so long as it is done on the weekend, they maintain a passing GPA, and don’t get in trouble. The problem is, trouble is constantly happening, and I don’t see things changing for the better anytime soon.

    People keep saying we shouldn’t focus on the missing girls alcohol consumption. Sounds like a bunch of alcoholics who don’t want their God dragged through the mud. How can we have a serious discussion about college student safety and pretend alcohol has nothing to do with this incident, or is indirectly related. It doesn’t take a genius to understand that an intoxicated person is definitely an easier target than a sober one.

    This is the current state of mind here in the United State of Binge Consumption Ethanol Worshipers. Ethanol should never been cursed, or discussed in a negative light. Ethanol is the salvation of America. Consume it, lots of it, so much of it that it causes you to not think straight. This is only “partying,” so it is OK.

    The parenting and alcohol issue isn’t about one girl. It is about an entire future generation, and even a generation or two before this current college one, who are being told that in order to have a meaningful life in America, one needs to consume massive amounts of Ethanol.

    Reply
  7. paintedmaple

    Thanks for the thoughtful article, Kent. Like you, I went to IU in the early ’80’s (BS’84) with all of the glorious insanity of that time and being vaguely aware that serious trouble was one mis-step away. The day I qualified for a degree from the Business School was the most shocking day of my life – didn’t seem likely that could happen after 5 crazy years. But my point is that IU students and college kids everywhere push themselves to the limit in many different ways during that time. Why some are OK and others not is a mystery not governed by rationality. My oldest daughter just turned 14. I wish I could pass on my lived wisdom from those days, yet I know I cannot. I am keeping good thoughts for Lauren and her family.

    Reply
  8. College Student

    I am a sophomore in college and I have some friends who were raised with more relaxed parents and some who were raised by very strict ones, like the author of this article. Really, it goes either way with these kids. Some kids with strict parents will come home at curfew and go to bed. Others will come home at curfew and sneak out their window. If the author here is insinuating that his kid always follows the rules, I think he is being very naiive. Unless he follows his son around all day, he can’t possibly know everything that his son does.

    Going back to my friends who have strict parents, most of them still go out and get drunk. Many of them actually seem to get more drunk and irresponsible than kids who were raised with parents that let them make choices and were a bit more relaxed. Having strict rules for your kid doesn’t mean they’ll follow them when you’re not around.

    Reply
  9. Anon

    “Giving a kid freedom to make life altering mistakes was not in my game plan.” (article)

    This reminds me of Finding Nemo, when the Dad says he’ll never let anything happen to his son. The other fish says that’s silly, because then nothing would happen to him.

    If you don’t give your kid enough freedom to make “life-altering mistakes” (I assume he means life-altering in a bad way), then they don’t have the freedom to make GOOD life-altering decisions.

    Look, you can’t keep your kids in your basement forever. They need to make their own choices to be prepared for later in life. It’s true what they say—-you really do learn from your mistakes. Sometimes errors in judgement lead to something horrible. Most of the time they don’t. Keeping your kid in a glass bubble may keep him alive, but isn’t it better to let him out?

    I see it like this— Other parents teach their kid how to swim because odds are, they’ll want to go in the water someday and they want their kids to be prepared. This writer is terrified his kid will drown, so he never teaches him to swim and says “stay away from the water.” Does this really make your child any safer? No. Anybody read articles about people drowning in lakes? Most of the time, it says the person didn’t know how to swim, but was in the water anyways.

    I truly think that Lauren was out doing what anybody reading this has done themselves at one point–walk in a familiar area by yourself at night. It’s not like she was hiking through the woods at 4 in the morning. This is not her fault. Strict parenting wouldn’t prevent something like this. There’s only so much you can do to protect yourself or your child from the world.

    Reply
    1. kentsterling Post author

      Nay, nay, Nanook. The water is fine, but stay away from cliffs, fire, and dynamite. There is a difference between teaching a kid to swim and teaching a kid to juggle lit torches.

      Reply
  10. Ryan Sterling

    My name is Ryan Sterling and I am the author’s son. I can shed some light as to the author of this post being that we have lived under the same roof for nearly 20 years. My dad means only the best with his words and of course never wants to see this happen to any parents. He is giving his own insight in order to help others. You can take it at face value or you can read into it what isn’t being said. All I can tell you is that my parents gave me the tools to make my own decisions. My dad says they were strict, this is not the case. I did not grow up in a bubble nor was i subject to rules that I did not have some say in. I made my curfew. My parents asked me when i was going to be home and this was my curfew for the night. If by chance I was going to be late all that was needed was a phone call explaining what was going on and that I would be a little late. That was all. My parents gave me the respect to make my own decisions and I gave that respect back by sticking to my word and earning their trust. I was held accountableby my parents for the choices I made and faced any consequences brought about by my choices, good or bad. In college my decisions were purely my own. I cannot say that all of my choices were the best, because that would be a lie. I had fun in college like the majority of students do. I did it responsibly, like the majority of college students do. I was not socially sheltered nor told what I could or could not do. What my parents did was allow me to grow as a person capable of living on my own. You would have to meet me in order to get a gauge on whether or not they were successful in doing that. To use the analogy written in a comment above; my parents did not teach me to swim and then tell to stay out of the water. They taught to swim in order to have the best chance of thriving in the water on my own. I have more love and respect for my parents than I can ever put onto words. I am not writing this to tell everyone that they are wrong, only to give a first hand insight into the person who wrote this post. My mom and dad worry just like most any other parent worries about their children. He has this outlet to reach people who may read this and gain some knowledge for themselves. If this is knowledge you want or like, great! If you don’t want it or like it, that’s great too. The choice is yours, but from experience I can tell you that what he says comes from a place of love and caring. Plus, he is right all the time, it’s a little frustrating.

    All of this being said, we can only assume what Lauren Spierer was like and only a select few have the right to speak with any knowledge about her or her family. This is a situation that anyone with a son/daughter could find themselves in regardless of the environment we are in, and that is scary to think about. We all want her safe and speedy return to family and friends.

    Reply
  11. something to think about

    My parents were a little bit like you, however me and my sister turned out completely different.
    I was very respectful of their rules and she wasn’t. She was the typical problem child, a moody teenager that always wanted to get her way while I… wasn’t. Always on time, good grades, etc.
    Now that we’re both adults we’re still different but we both live well adjusted lives, no excessive drinking or partying, jobs we like, with stable partners.
    Even though we were raised in a different culture (where the drinking age is 18 and people usually stay home while going to college) I guess what I’m getting at is you can’t always control everything. Even with the best parenting techniques children can turn out not as expected. I don’t know to what I would attribute the difference between me and my sister, I guess that’s something to think about.

    Reply
  12. cheryl

    That so called perfect parenting as you are bragging about- does not always determine that you will have that desired outcome. I have learned that you can warn your kids and be very open with them about the consequences of drugs, sex, and school and they can still be a victim. So dont be so cocky cuz its sure to back fire right where you dont want it to. We can all talk to our kids, have good relationships with them and they still can make a mistake at the wrong time and it can be life learning. My message is for the young people be careful. bad thing can really happy to you!!! good things too. but one bad thing can last forever.

    Reply
    1. kentsterling Post author

      That exactly what I wrote. Who the hell was bragging about perfect parenting? My son may have turned out well, but my parenting was filled with missteps – as I wrote several times.

      The post is about fear parents have, not how to parent your own kids.

      Reply

Leave a Reply to Ryan Sterling Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *